The Toronto Police’s hate crime unit is investigating a fire at a Jewish-owned grocery store in the city that was also spray-painted with the words "Free Palestine", CBC News reports.

Police said the fire is being probed as suspected hate-motivated arson. The graffiti is being probed as a possible hate crime.

Staff Supt. Pauline Gray, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, told reporters on Wednesday that International Delicatessen Foods, located on Steeles Avenue West near Petrolia Road, was targeted.

"I've been a criminal investigator the vast majority of my career, and in most of those criminal investigations, there was a tipping point. This is this tipping point," Gray said near the scene.

"This is not graffiti on a bus shelter. This is not lawful protest protected by constitutional right. This is a criminal act. It is violent, it is targeted, it is organized, and it will receive the weight of the Toronto Police Service to exactly what it deserves," she added.

"We will leave no stone unturned. We will use all the resources available to us to investigate, arrest and prosecute who is responsible for this."

The owner of the business confirmed to CBC Toronto that he is Jewish and said he believes the vandalism is an act of antisemitism.

The business's name is displayed as the acronym "IDF", just like the acronym for Israel Defense Forces, in large red letters above the building's entrance.

Police and firefighters were called to the scene at about 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday. When firefighters arrived, they saw smoke coming from the rear. Fire crews entered the building and quickly extinguished the blaze.

Gray said officers found the graffiti on the outside of the building at the same time that the fire was discovered. She said investigators have recovered some evidence from the roof and the roof is part of the investigation.

She said police suspect the incident was motivated by hate and believe it was committed "with bias or prejudice."

No one was injured in the incident.

Police are urging anyone with dashboard camera footage of the business in the last few days to come forward.

In a statement on Wednesday, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto said it is "outraged and deeply concerned" about the incident. The federation urged Toronto residents to take a stand and speak up against growing antisemitism in the city.

"Such an act of hate-motivated arson would be the result of three months of escalating hate and intimidation against Toronto's Jewish community. History demonstrates that violent words lead to violent actions. This must end now," it said.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow released a statement on X, formerly Twitter, saying her office is in contact with the police as they investigate.

"Incidents like this leave people feeling shaken. They diminish our sense of safety and belonging. All residents of Toronto deserve to be safe and feel safe," Chow wrote.

"As Mayor, let me be clear: acts of antisemitism, hate and violence are not welcome here," she added.

Ontario’s Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, wrote on X, “Across the GTA, we have witnessed brazen attacks on synagogues, Jewish schools & businesses.”

“This hate-motivated arson is yet another direct assault on Canadian values, pluralism & the rule of law - inciting violence singularly because of one's faith. Call it what it is: antisemitism,” he added.

Councillor James Pasternak, who represents Ward 6, York Centre, said he was "shocked and appalled" at the attack on the grocery store.

He added that "this escalation of lawlessness" in the city must end.

Incidents of antisemitism have been on the rise in Toronto since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza.

Recently published information from the Toronto Police Service shows that incidents targeting the city’s Jewish community nearly doubled in 2023.

Between January 1 and December 17, there were 338 hate-motivated incidents reported, of which 147 were against the Jewish community. Between October 7 and December 17, there were 98 hate crimes reported, of which 56 were antisemitic.

In November, Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw revealed a 192 percent increase in the number of reported antisemitic incidents between October 7 and November 20, compared to the same period last year.

Recent incidents in Toronto include threats to the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, a Jewish high school in the district of North York.

The school was targeted again several weeks later when it was briefly evacuated following a bomb threat.

Other incidents include graffiti depicting the Star of David smeared with red paint to symbolize blood and words such as “Free Palestine” and “Soaked in Blood” above the

In early November, an Indigo book store in downtown Toronto was vandalized with red paint and posters plastered on its front windows wrongfully accusing its Jewish founder and CEO, Heather Reisman, of “Funding Genocide.”